the 8th of December, the Georgetown Solidarity Committee decided they
have had enough of Georgetown University's refusal to cancel their
contracts with Nike. At 10AM, a crew of students occupied the University
President DeSioia's office, then at around noon a much larger
solidarity rally marched into the building and occupied the lobby in
front of it as well. As of 6:30PM Dec 8 students are still holding out.
Nike actually offers a Georgetown branded Air Jordan sneaker, part of
their notorious line of overpriced shoes assembled in sweatshops in
Vietnam, then sold for as much as $200, mostly profit.
Nike has long been infamous for sweatshops, back in the WT0/Seattle
era Nike was often targetted by anti-globalization protesters. There
are those of us who remember that Niketown was one of the few businesses
smashed by the masked anarchist Black Bloc at the Nov 30. 1999 Battle
of Seattle. The WTO's 1999 ministerial opening ceremonies were forcibly
shut down in that round of protest and street fighting. The rest of the
talks then got nowhere. The relaunched Doha Round of talks ended in
defeat a few years later.
Nike still has not learned, so now they are being hit with divestment
campaigns like the campaign at Georgetown University. In the past the
Georgetown Solidarity Committee has held barefoot days and delivered
petitions for divestment from Nike but these have been ignored.Thus the
need to take it directly to President DeSioia by occupying his office
until Georgetown dumps Nike and Nike Air Jordans either are no longer
made in VIetnam's sweatshops-or are no longer made at all. The "Swoosh"
may soon be swishing down the toilet at Georgetown-unless Nike finally
decides to abandon the sweatshop model of production for sub-living
wages. There is a report in the Guardian that "deplorable" conditions in
Nike's factory in Vietnam may mean this is the last year for those Nike
Georgetown Air Jordans.
Perhaps Georgetown University President DeSioia should visit the
archivists at Columbia University to talk about what happened in 1968
when Columbia refused to listen to students opposed to the "Army Math"
research program there and a gym that encroached on Harlem. He could
also visit nearby University of MD to talk about the sit-ins and
adminstration takeovers that resulted from university ties to the former
Apartheid regime in South Africa. It does not pay for any university to
defy the students who pay their bills with those outrageous tuition
checks and a lifetime of debt.